A High Court sitting in Akwa Ibom State has sentenced Peter Ogban, a professor of Soil Science at the University of Calabar to three years in prison for fraudulent manipulation of election results.
Ogban, who was the returning officer in the senatorial election in Akwa Ibom North-West in 2019, was also accused of publishing and announcing false results in two local government areas – Oruk Anam and Etim Ekpo.
He was prosecuted at a State High Court in Ikot Ekpene by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The court found him guilty of altering results of the election to favour the All Progressives Congress (APC) against its main rival, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a previous court session, Ogban had told the court how results of the election were falsified to give the APC an unfair advantage over the PDP.
Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, was the APC candidate in the election. He was seeking a return to the Senate after defecting from the PDP.
The PDP candidate, Chris Ekpenyong, a former deputy governor in Akwa Ibom State, defeated Mr Akpabio in the election which was marred by pockets of violence.
INEC had said in a statement issued then: “He changed the outcome of the election by reducing the score of a leading candidate by a huge five thousand (5,000) votes and increasing the losing candidate’s score by the same margin without altering the overall total valid votes cast to avoid detection.
“Unfortunately for him, there is no perfect crime as the early information trigger tracking system of the Electoral Operation Support Centre (EOSC), fully activated throughout the period of the election exposed him.”
The commission is also prosecuting Ignatius Uduk, another professor who worked in the election, for alleged unlawful generation of results.
It had said Uduk from the University of Uyo “declared election results collated not by him, but by undisclosed individuals who only handed them to him to announce.”